How Sweet the Sound: The Message of Our Best-Loved Hymns

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InterVarsity Press, Dec 5, 2003 - Religion - 191 pages
From generation to generation, Christianity is passed down not only through words that are spoken but also through words that are sung. The church's life and vitality has often been profoundly shaped by the great hymns of the faith. But there is more to hymns than classic melodies and stately lyrics. Embodied and preserved in our hymns are the key doctrines of Christian belief. When we think of God's character and attributes, we speak of him as a mighty fortress, a bulwark never failing. When we consider his goodness to us, we remember that great is his faithfulness. And when we think of God's life-transforming power, we sing of amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Musician and preacher Richard Allen Farmer explores the messages of twenty-five of the greatest hymns of the Christian faith. With careful exposition and thoughtful reflection, he shows how biblical truths are encapsulated in a hymn's lyrics, stanza by stanza or even in a single line of a single verse. His consideration of familiar texts uncovers fresh meaning and new significance for the Christian journey. Rediscover the profound insights of Christian hymnody. You will never sing these hymns the same way again.
 

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Contents

Introduction
9
About God 1 Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing Inviting God In
15
About the Church
18
A Celebration of Strength
21
A Focused View of God
29
A Pilgrims Plea
35
Goodbye to Quicksand
43
A God Like No Other
49
And Can It Be? Overwhelmed by Wonder
73
When God Reaches Down
79
A Global Call to Worship
85
Going Beyond the Beautiful Scenery
91
An Invitation to an Emotional Experience
99
A Symbol That Changes Us
105
The Song of the Empty Tomb
113
Locked Up and Free
119

A Portrait of Gods Trustworthiness
54
About Christ
58
Imagining a PreChristian Condition
64
On the Playing Singing and Place of Hymns
183
Notes
189
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Farmer (M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary) is a classically trained pianist, concert artist and Bible expositor whose itinerant music and preaching ministry has taken him to hundreds of churches and dozens of countries. Prior to his present ministry he served as a senior pastor and as dean of the chapel at both Gordon College and Taylor University. He has been awarded the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by Gordon College (1996) and the honorary Doctor of Sacred Theology degree by Houghton College (1999).

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